Hey, everyone~ This piece was originally part of a longer piece called Analysis: The Use Of Symbolism And Metaphor In Your Lie In April. However, that blog post was super long, so I decided to break it into two parts. Part 2 will look at symbols and metaphors in Your Lie in April that serve a purpose but aren’t as major as the symbols discussed in Part 1. Please enjoy Kousei’s and Kaori’s journey as told through images and symbolism!
In Episode 5, Kaori decides to jump off of Courage Bridge and into the river. She nags Kousei and wants him to dive in too. At first, Kousei is apprehensive because of his reserved personality, but decides to jump in with her. This scene represents how Kousei is giving up his inhibitions and has decided to follow Kaori through a musical journey, despite his fear of playing the piano. He is literally and figuratively “taking the plunge.” At the very beginning of Episode 5, there is a flashback of Tsubaki and Kousei at Courage Bridge. In trying to persuade Kousei to jump in, Tsubaki says that “It’s gonna change your whole world!” This is no coincidence; this is foreshadowing. In taking a risk and following Kaori, Kousei’s world definitely changed.
Because he did not play it for two years, the piano in Kousei’s home is dirty and full of dust. The piano is a metaphor for Kousei himself. He feels worn out and broken down. He is currently in a phase of stagnant hibernation. When Kaori visits Kousei’s house in Episode 6, she starts to brush the dust and cobwebs off the piano. Her actions are symbolic- she isn’t just cleaning the piano, she is creating a new slate for Kousei as she inspires him to start playing the piano again.
“A Black Hole Peering Back At Me”
Kousei not being able to see his mother’s face is another symbol. From the beginning of the anime, Kousei cannot remember his mother’s face. When he imagines her, she is in a gray haze and he can only recall when she was sick in a wheelchair. This is represents how Kousei is blinded by pain; he cannot see past of the negative memories he has of his mother. The image of his handicapped, faceless mother haunts Kousei, especially when he tries to play the piano. It isn’t until Episode 13 that Kousei finally remembers the good experiences he had with his mother, such as how she played the piano for him as he slept. We finally get to see her face for the first time and she is shown in color, rather than gray. This represents how Kousei has finally come to terms with what happened with his mother. He can see all of her- the good and the bad- and accepts that he needs to say goodbye.
Mounting The Steps
This is by far my favorite metaphor in the show. In Episode 19, we learn about Takeshi’s backstory and how he became Kousei’s rival. This episode explains that Kousei always won first place, while Takeshi usually came in second or third. Takeshi is not the type to take losing easily, and he declares that one day he will become better than Kousei. In a flashback, we see a disgruntled Takeshi running up shrine steps, screaming about his latest defeat. The steps are symbolic of how Takeshi wishes to overcome Kousei and any other challenges he may face. As he runs up them, he is struggling to move forward. When Takeshi reaches the top, he turns around looks at a beautiful view of the city that he has never seen before. At this moment, Hideki thinks “[Kousei was] the one who expanded my world.” That gorgeous new view represents how playing piano and competing against Kousei has allowed Takeshi to experience all kinds of new and wonderful things.
Nagi is also shown on these steps, chasing after her brother. Nagi too wants to overcome her difficulties, and reach the same level as Takeshi. In the second opening we see Nagi mounting the steps as a child, scrambling after Takeshi. Then, it jumps forward and we see her as a teenager, still following in her brother’s footsteps. The same shrine is shown once again when Nagi and Kousei have an argument. At first, they sit on the steps; this illustrates how they are currently having a stalemate. However, after talking and enjoying sweet potatoes together, they make up and begin playing Jankenpon (Rock, Paper, Scissors) while going up the stairs. This symbolizes how Nagi now accepts Kousei and that he will help her get through whatever challenges she faces.
There is a definite motif of trains in this anime. As the characters walk throughout town, trains always pass them by. I believe that in most cases these trains representative of some kind transition for the characters, a time where they are moving forward in their lives. For example, when Tsubaki decides to date her senpai, a train zooms by, showing how she is trying to transition from a possible relationship with Kousei into a new one. A trains passes by as Kousei opens up to Kaori, and tells her about Chelsea and his mother. This is also an important transitional scene because Kaori’s advice inspires Kousei to play with feeling rather than accuracy. At one point, Kousei begins to run and scream as a train goes by, trying to keep its pace. This a huge contrast between the quiet Kousei and this new Kousei who is more confident thanks to Kaori. The final time we see a train is the very last scene when Kousei looks back and sees the Blue Eyed Cat. At this point, Kousei is adapting and transitioning into a new life without Kaori.
Sakura petals are another recurring theme within the show. They show up constantly in one form or another. These petals are symbolic of the fleetingness of life and beauty. Every year in the spring, the cherry blossoms bloom and then wither away just as quickly as they came. The sakura are also a metaphor for Kaori. She showed up out of nowhere and changed Kousei’s life forever. Although she only spent a short time with him, she left an everlasting impression of beauty in his memory, just like the dazzling petals of spring.
And that’s everything! Did I miss anything? Thanks for reading. And thanks to any who leaves a comment or left one on the original piece. If you missed it, make sure to check out Part 1 of the analysis.